Plans for the annual event for bow enthusiasts of all levels are back on track after the Douglas County Board reconsidered a permit for public assemblage.
In May, the board denied issuing the permit because Mont du Lac missed the deadline to apply for a four-day event. However, the application met the deadline for three days of the event where organizers anticipate 1,000 or more participants.
Mike O’Hara of Mont du Lac contested the decision because while the event kicks off July 23, he said attendance isn’t expected to reach 1,000 people the first day of the event. The public assemblage permit is only required when an event reaches or exceeds 1,000 people. The application was timely for the event days covered in the permit request, July 24-26. Permit applications must be filed 90 days before the event.
The appeal was heard in Douglas County Circuit Court.
The court was concerned that at least one board member was not able to fully participate in the meeting and ordered the board to rehear the application, said Carolyn Pierce, corporate counsel. She said the court found the county board did not have sufficient proof that attendance on July 23 would require Mont du Lac to have a permit to cover that day, making the denial unreasonable.
“The bottom line really comes down to whether the county can prove more than 1,000 people are going to attend on Thursday and that’s what triggers the need for a permit and what triggers whether it’s a timely application,” Pierce said.
“On the phone, I couldn’t understand this whole four-day, three-day thing,” Supervisor Keith Allen said of the May meeting held by teleconference. Allen voted in favor of issuing the permit in May.
“That was one of the sticking points; we’re not sure that everyone knew exactly what they were voting for that night,” Chairman Mark Liebaert said. “The denial was based on the fact that we believed, still do believe, it was a four-day event and their application was not timely.”
Supervisor Peter Clark, who voted in favor of the permit in May, said there are other events where package tickets are sold but attendance on a Thursday night will be significantly lower than the following days of the event.
The board approved the permit June 18 by unanimous voice vote.
There is no longer a limit on the number of people that can gather during the COVID-19 pandemic, but state officials have urged people to limit large gatherings and wear face masks when going out in public.